“Mr. MBA”. That’s what the MD at my internship has been calling me all summer long. Though, technically speaking I should be “Mr. Half-MBA”, I am content with “Mr. MBA”. The name sticks for several reasons in this tiny organization. Perhaps it’s because in my turnaround assignment I was able to grow my department’s sales by 100% month over month. But it also might be due to the fact that the MD has trouble remembering names. So in my first true MBA test, how did LBS prepare me to conquer this challenge? And more importantly, how closer has it brought me to become the entrepreneur I aspire to become?
Managing a start up in my internship from A-Z (minus the accounting thankfully) means that I am the operations manager in the morning, marketing manager at lunch, and finance controller over dinner. Before I began my MBA, I was terrified at the prospect of having to venture into these unfamiliar fields. Yet today, I enjoy the thrill of the challenge. Whether it was optimizing our supply chain in China, or fine-tuning our marketing campaign, what I picked up at LBS has impacted every major decision I have made so far in my internship.
London Business School does an (and I cannot stress this enough) AMAZING job at teaching us the tools how to understand, dissect and solve problems in management fields that most of us have never come across. By combining real world case studies, professors with years of work experience in their subjects, and the most diverse MBA student body in the world in terms of experience and geography, LBS makes sure that by the time your done with your first year, you’ve heard pretty much everything you need to know to deal with the even the most complicated problems.
During my first week, I had to find out if we could source a certain type of equipment from China. Because my company was based in the Middle East, we had absolutely no contacts in China. As it is common in LBS, I sent out a request on portal (a website that all the LBS community can access and share information on) to see if anyone could help out. By the next morning alone, I had well over 60 e-mails from alumni across the world that offered to help me not only source the equipment, but also coordinate all the travel arrangements if we wanted to meet the supplier in China. My MD was shocked and thoroughly impressed at how responsive and helpful our alumni could be! Having our massive 34’000+ global alumni community is one of the key differences between an MBA and a LBS MBA. I know that no matter what I decide to establish once I’m done, I will find all the support I need.
“Did you really jump off a 15 meter pole during your first week at LBS?” asked my puzzled family. Even though I had a sleepless overnight flight back home, I could tell from their looks it would be better to answer them before I reunited with my bed. Suspecting I had joined the circus, my family listened as I described to them my ‘LBS Away day’. Apart from jumping off a pole (it kind of helped having an ex-navy pilot jump with me), my study group and I walked on a hanging wire as well as managed to pass a ball to 14 people in less than half a second. I explained to my family that beneath the adrenaline rush I had, without realizing, learned my first lesson at LBS: Effective teamwork is essential for success.
Having heard enough about my acrobatics, my family asked me “did you learn anything this term?”. It wasn’t too hard to convince them as I described the 5 core courses, 2 leadership workshops, GLAM and countless club meetings. The core classes were a perfect mix of theory and practicality. Class discussions further enhance the real-life use of the tools we learn. It’s amazing how you get to listen to – and engage with – for example, strategy perspectives from a L’Oreal executive from someone in your own class! Moreover, the projects that we undertake for each class are not only designed to help tackle everyday management problems, such as calculating how many planes Airbus needed to sell per year to breakeven on its A380 investment, but also lead a diverse group of people in doing so under a very tight schedule.
As for the leadership workshops, these are workshops aimed at enhancing leadership characteristics. My favorite was by far Influencing & Persuading. We learned about the 4 categories of personalities that people have and which techniques are suitable for each personality. We then spent hours practicing scenarios that ranged from dealing with military generals to unmotivated employees in a struggling startup. Its just amazing how at LBS you learn so much about soft skills that you would have otherwise thought were unnecessary. As a testament to my newly acquired skills, I managed to persuade my landlord to knock a bit off when I renew my contract this term! No matter what workshop you are interested in, which range from Presentations to Personal Impact, the results are skills that are easily translated into any industry, position, and country that you will end up in after graduation.
Even though I have finished just one term, I already feel like I’ve learned a whole program’s worth of information. It is just incredible how the MBA program has so far pushed me one step closer to becoming a global leader. As excited as I am about next term, for now I will catch up on some much needed sleep!
As an aspiring entrepreneur, LBS was really a simple choice for me. I wanted a b-school that gave me a global business perspective. Understanding how the global supply chain works in our modern age is key for my future success. Where else can I learn about globalization and build international contacts in the most diverse b-school in the world? With more than 66 nationalities in my MBA class, I don’t need to look far away!
What also grabbed my attention was the curriculum. The first year is spent enforcing core managerial concepts such as strategy and corporate finance, which can be waived under certain circumstances. As for the second year, there are so many options! Starting from exchange programs, with more than 30 partner schools around the world, to electives which will really help me build my business such as Managing the Growing Business. I also have the chance to spend my summer at the Entrepreneurship Summer School, which allows me to test the feasibility of some the ideas that I have and be able to develop a business plan by the time I graduate!
Being the #1 MBA program in the world, LBS is THE place for me to build my skill set and contacts. By the end of the program, the world better be ready for me!